Post the Price, Please

OSPIRG is working to make sure consumers get to see health care prices up front.

SECRET PRICES CONTRIBUTE TO HIGH COSTS

 Recent studies show that one third of every dollar we spend on health care is wasted on something that doesn’t improve our health.[1] One reason why is that hospitals get to keep their prices a secret. As a result, medical prices are often hidden from patients, and many contain extra charges and surprising fees. Take a look at some of these examples:

IT’S TIME FOR UP FRONT PRICES

We can bring down the cost of care by getting prices up front. To that end, OSPIRG urges Oregon policymakers to take action to require hospitals to post their prices and to give patients the price of a recommended procedure in real time. It's common sense, but it will likely take big public support to overcome industry lobbyists.


 
[1] Institute of Medicine at the National Academies, Sept 2012, "Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America".
[2] CNN, March 2010, "Prescription for Waste" 
[3] OSPIRG blog, October 2013, "Thousand Dollar Ointment".
[4] Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data

Issue updates

Blog Post | Financial Reform

CFPB Slams Two Credit Bureaus For Deceptive Marketing, Expect Experian Next | Ed Mierzwinski

This week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau nailed two "big 3" credit bureaus --Trans Union and Equifax -- for deceptive marketing of their over-priced, under-performing credit monitoring subscription products.  Combined fines and consumer restitution total $23 million. I predict that the CFPB will also bring a case against the remaining bureau, Experian, and that it will pay much more, because Experian really has led the way in aggressively marketing these tawdry products. They don't prevent identity theft, nor do they always accurately disclose your credit score, at fees of up to $16.95/month or more. Yikes!

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

This New Year, Celebrate the CFPB | Ed Mierzwinski

This month, we published our 8th report based on analyzing consumer complaints collected in the CFPB's Public Consumer Complaint Database. The release of "Big Banks, Big Overdraft Fees" provides a good year-end opportunity to summarize a few of the reasons to be thankful for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which took over in July 2011 as the first federal regulator with just one job: protecting consumers from unfair financial practices. The idea of the CFPB needs no defense, only more defenders.

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Statement on Procter & Gamble’s New Preservative Tracker in Personal Care Products

Personal care product giant Procter & Gamble (P&G) recently unveiled a new preservative tracker, which lets consumers know which preservatives are included in various categories of P&G’s products, such as baby wipes, skin care, and hair care products. Consumers can search the tracker by ingredient or by product type.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Democracy

Portland City Council Votes to Make Government More Accountable to Everyday People

The Portland City Council passed a major reform that will lift up the voices of everyday voters in local government. Open and Accountable Elections will empower candidates to run for office without taking big campaign contributions, instead fueling their campaigns with small donations from local, everyday voters, matched 6-to-1 with designated public funds.

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News Release | Consumer Protection

Yahoo Data Breach Presents Opportunity for Strong Response

Statement by Mike Litt at the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, on the latest announced Yahoo data breach.

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Pages

Media Hit | Transportation

Study: Rogue Valley faces highest transportation costs in Oregon

Medford and Ashland residents take a closer look at how much they spend on transportation annually.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Transportation

Happy Transportation Freedom Day!

On March 20, Portland and Vancouver residents celebrate Transportation Freedom Day, the date a typical area household has earned enough to cover its annual transportation costs.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Students Rally for High-speed rail

Students at the University of Oregon held a rally to encourage our leaders to bring high-speed rail to the state.

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Media Hit | Budget, Tax

Business tax breaks total $626 million

Oregon will provide at least $626 million in tax subsidies for corporations this biennium, but has no system set up to determine whether that foregone revenue is accomplishing its goals, a nonprofit advocacy group said Monday.

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Loan labyrinth: Mortgage modifications not so easy

The federal government's plan to rescue our housing market has been moving like molasses.

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Pages

News Release | OSPIRG

OSPIRG is calling on Governor Kate Brown to hit the reset button on the state’s response to containing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as cases surge to concerning levels. More than 1,000 health professionals nationwide, including 24 from Oregon, have now signed an open letter to America’s decision makers urging them to shut it down, start over, and do it right this time to contain COVID-19 and save lives.

Blog Post

OSPIRG has been tracking critical public health metrics around the containment of COVID-19 in Oregon, building on the work of COVID Exit Strategy, a group of national public health and crisis experts. Currently, Oregon is rated “Yellow” overall - while Oregon has fared better against the coronavirus than many states, so far, keeping it that way will require quick intervention to avoid spiraling out of control.

News Release | OSPIRG

Amid uncontrolled spread of the novel coronavirus in rural Oregon and the metro area, OSPIRG and top health experts delivered a letter Friday to Governor Brown and state leaders, calling on her to shut down hard hit counties, and start over with new policies to thwart COVID-19 and do it right. The letter calls for implementing stay at home restrictions to slow the virus, while increasing testing capacity and production of personal protective equipment.

News Release

OSPIRG issued corrections for County COVID trends report dated 7-17-2020.

News Release | U.S. PIRG

John Lewis was an American hero.

Most people knew him as a champion of civil rights, whether as a young man marching for freedom on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965 or serving as the “conscience of the Congress” for the past 33 years. Yet John Lewis was also a dependable ally on public interest issues, a tenacious advocate of voting reform and open government, consumer protection and a healthy environment.

Public Health

Responding to the COVID crisis

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever, we need to work together to ensure that our government has a coordinated, strategic response to safeguard the public’s health, protect consumers from emerging dangers and ensure people can still participate fully in our democracy.

 

Consumer Protection

As the pandemic goes on, consumer complaints continue at a record pace

A U.S. PIRG Education Fund analysis has found that since March 2020, public consumer complaints at the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have skyrocketed, setting a new monthly record each month. During this period, one in five complaints concerning mortgages, student loans or vehicle financing has mentioned the coronavirus crisis.

 

Public Health

Oregon pauses reopening as COVID-19 cases surge

Gov. Kate Brown announced that Oregon will wait one more week to reopen after an increase in COVID-19 cases. We commend Gov. Brown for sticking to a plan built on scientific evidence and we continue to support states following the recommendations of health experts to safely reopen.

 

COVID-19

Oregon legislators join national call for an end to coronavirus-related online price gouging

On April 9, 18 Oregon state legislators joined U.S. PIRG Education Fund in sending a letter urging prominent online retailers to prevent price gouging on their platforms. Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, the cost of critical health supplies has spiked dramatically on online platforms, analysis released by OSPIRG Foundation found.

 
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